Today I finally succeeded in buying some disposable piping bags - something I've been wanting for months! £6.49 for 50 from Lakeland, by the way.
So, to celebrate / test them out, I decided to make that modern classic of cupcakes, the red velvet. As it turns out, there's more to a red velvet cupcake than meets the eye. Not only are they made with cocoa powder ( I guess that's why the red bit is so delicious), but they have four (yes, four!) different raising ingredients, which gives them their fluffy texture.
Anyway, in spite of all this, they're not too tricky to make - but I can't say enough about the benefits of having my Mum's Kenwood Chef to help me with this recipe...
Ingredients for the red cakes (makes 10):
150g SR Flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp red food colouring (I used Silver Spoon)
100g caster sugar
1 medium egg
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
(NB you can make the buttermilk by mixing 100ml milk with a teaspoon of lemon juice, and leaving in a warm place for 5 minutes)
Set the oven to 180 degrees and get your muffin tin ready with 10 paper muffin cases.
Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl, and mix. In another bowl, mix the cocoa powder and food colouring until smooth.
In the mixer (or in another bowl if you're relying on elbow grease), cream together the butter and sugar, then add the vanilla and egg and beat well. Next, add the colouring/cocoa mixture and mic well so that the colour is even.
Add one third of the flour mixture, then half of the buttermilk, and mix well. Then the next third of the flour, the next half of the buttermilk, and the final part of the flour, mixing well each time.
Finally, in a separate bowl, mix the vinegar and bicarbonate of soda so that it fizzes. Add this mixture to the rest of the cake batter.
Spread the mixture between the cake cases, so that they're each about 2/3 full.
Cook for 15 minutes, turning halfway through. Check the cakes are done with a skewer (if it comes out clean, they're ready).
Once the cakes are cool, they're ready to ice. I used vanilla buttercream, although cream cheese icing is also good, and slightly less sweet...
1/2tsp vanilla essence
300g icing sugar
1 tbsp milk
Cream the butter with the vanilla (use a mixer again if you can). Add the icing sugar, bit by bit, until it's all creamed together and quite thick. Finally, add the milk and beat to a smooth consistency. Pipe onto cupcakes and try to let the icing set before you start eating...
As you'll see from the pictures, I also added a few edible silver stars to my cupcakes - again, available from Lakeland (possibly my new favourite shop).
Delicious! And I'm back in the baking game... Next stop, choice pastry...